MNA Sports Desk: Serena Williams touches the legend of world women’s tennis Steffi Graf with 22 major titles. Serena Williams confessed that it was a relief to finally settle a record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam title after the American star made history with her Wimbledon final victory against Angelique Kerber on Saturday.
Williams had been on the edge of drawing level with Steffi Graf’s Open era record of major titles since winning Wimbledon in 2015.
But her frustration was mounting after losing in the US Open semi-finals and then this year’s Australian and French Open finals. In her ninth Wimbledon final, Serena was pushed hard by Kerber before retaliating from her loss to the 28-year-old in the Australian Open final.
Finally shrugging off the weight of history on her shoulders, Serena beaten German fourth seed Kerber 7-5, 6-3 to secure a seventh Wimbledon title and reached to the long-awaited share of Graf’s landmark.
“It’s been incredibly difficult not to think about. I had a couple of tries this year and lost to great opponents.” Williams said in an interview on Centre Court.
“That makes the victory even sweeter; to know how hard I worked for it. This is awesome. This court definitely feels like home. I love playing out here. I don’t know what else to say. I’m so excited, thank you!” she later added.
Serena was quick to pay tribute to Kerber and also saluted her entourage, which included her coach Patrick Mouratoglou, sister Venus and pop royalty Beyonce and Jay-Z.
“Angelique — I love playing her, she brings out great tennis in me and off court she’s a wonderful person to be around. It’s such a great feeling to be out here. To my family and whole team — thank you so much. It’s just been great.” Williams said.
“I think sometime after the French Open, we were talking and strategizing. He just said, ‘You’re back’. I guess he was right. I had to start looking at positives, not focusing on that one loss per tournament which anyone else on this tour would be completely happy about.” she also said.
“Once I started focusing more on the positives, I realized that I’m pretty good. Then I started playing a little better.”
Asked to reflect on her incredible success at the majors, which started with a US Open title as a trailblazing teenager in 1999, Serena admitted it was becoming hard to keep track of all her triumphs.
Despite the frustration of losing her first Wimbledon final as she failed to become the first German woman to triumph at the All England Club since Graf in 1996, Kerber had no complaints about playing second fiddle to Serena.
“First of all I would like to say congrats to Serena. You really deserve it, you are a great champion, a great person. It’s always an honor to play against her and it’s the best feeling to play here on Centre Court.”Kerber said.